NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Hundreds of Southern Baptists gathered for a Sept. 11 memorial service led by Jack Graham, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
The event was sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources, the SBC Executive Committee and the ERLC. The service featured a dramatic reading, patriotic musical selections and a music video from a new LifeWay musical “United Through It All.”
Leading those gathered in a call to prayer and reflection, Graham drew his remarks from Psalm 27 and urged those present to pray for the nation.
“Life is a gift from God,” said Graham, pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.
“We should remember the lessons from Sept. 11 and know that our lives are meant for kingdom work. We are kingdom citizens,” Graham said, while also underscoring the importance of believers praying for revival and renewal in the land.
James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay, addressed the audience through videotaped remarks. Draper was at the LifeWay Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center for a trustee meeting.
“Patriotism is not enough,” Draper said in response to the Sept. 11 tragedy. “We must pray and return to God.”
Draper said the nation learned several lessons over the past year — that life is fragile and that parts of the world are hostile to the gospel.
Land, too, reminded those gathered of the lessons learned on that day during his message.
“We have relearned some things about ourselves,” Land said. “I looked around and discovered that there were a lot more Americans who agreed with me and shared my love of country and who looked to God for strength in time of trouble than I had been led to believe were out there. More of my neighbors reacted the same way I did than I had been led to believe they would.”
Land said he was reminded of the funeral of Winston Churchill. During Churchill’s funeral a bugler played Taps. But immediately afterwards, another bugler played the tune of reveille.
“It’s time to get up, it’s time to get up, it’s time to get up in the morning,” Land said. “Death is not the end. The grave has lost its sting and death has lost its victory for those of us who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We have been reminded that in spite of all the ways we have gained control of our existence and our environment, we are ultimately not in control and life can end in a moment. We’re going to ask people who we come in contact with, ‘Are you ready?'”
Land said the country is in need of a great movement from God.
“Great movements of God always start with God’s people getting right with God,” he said. “The word revival is an interesting word because you have to be vived before you can be revived. God will not send an awakening unless God’s people get right with God.
“In his darkest hour, Churchill called his people to action,” Land said. “He said, ‘May we so conduct ourselves so that if the British Empire lasts a thousand years, they will say this was our finest hour.’ May we as Christians in America so conduct ourselves so that our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren will look back on us and say this was our finest hour.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: 9/11 PRAYER, CHAPLAIN’S CLOSING PRAYER, LAND ON 9/11 and TAPS & REFLECTION.